The blue chip index's rally continued as higher commodity prices attracted investors to resources stocks. The FTSE 100 closed 1.1% higher at 6,911. Glencore (GLEN), Fresnillo (FRES) and Randgold Resources (RRS) traded up to 5.5% higher. BHP Billiton (BLT) and Antofagasta (ANTO) were also in positive territory. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was 2.1% higher at $46.32 and Brent crude oil increased 1.6% to $47.59 per barrel, respectively. Gold glittered at $1,338 per ounce and copper gained 1.7% to $4,806 per tonne. US existing home sales eased in August despite mortgage rates near record lows as higher home prices and not enough inventory for sale kept potential buyers at bay, according to the National Association of Realtors. MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Estate agency Countrywide (CWD) sold its entire stake in property website Zoopla (ZPLA) for £29.2 million. Construction group Kier (KIE) nudged higher as revenues jumped by a quarter to £4.2 billion in the 12 months to 30 June. Operating profits soared by 44% due to focus on housing and infrastructure. Pubs operator Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) was up 2.7%, despite sales falling 0.8% in the 51 weeks to 17 September as rising wages and investment blunted margins. Better weather helped sales in the final eight weeks of the period climb 1.8% year-on-year. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Ferrum Crescent (FCR) acquired GoldQuest Iberica, which owns 100% of two lead-zinc exploration projects in the provinces of Leόn and Galicia, in historic Spanish mining areas, triggering a share price rise of 46.5% to 0.32p. A peer reviewed study led by Proteome Sciences (PRM), in conjunction with a group of universities and hospitals, demonstrated the ability of a mass spectrometry workflow to improve the ability to detect tau-derived peptides. These peptides are directly related to human Alzheimer's pathology as early stage biomarkers. Shares were up 14.8% on the news. Newmark Security (NWT) warned results for the current financial year may be materially below market expectations and it anticipates reporting a loss for FY17. Management Consulting (MMC) entered an agreement with Accenture for the sale of Kurt Salmon, comprising Kurt Salmon retail and consumer goods consulting businesses in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, China, Hong Kong and Japan for $165 million. The firm soared 26.5% to 21.5p. Investors jumped ship after Xtract Resources (XTR) announced that underlying fundamentals and risk associated with the Chepica gold/copper mine in southern Chile were not supportive of continuing investment by the firm. It crashed 31.2% to 0.03p. Armadale Capital (ACP) dropped 15.8% on news that it needs investment for the Mpokoto gold project, which may result in a diluted stake for the firm. Driving monitoring systems supplier Seeing Machines (SEE) accelerated 24.1% to 4.5p following the introduction of its first generation FOVIO embedded hardware chip. Additional cash flow and revenues boosted Billing Services (BILL) by 18.5%. The market chose not to focus on a cut to full-year guidance as a result of a decline in billable service calls on landline phones. Specialist long-term savings provider Hansard Global (HSD) fell 14.3% as operating cash surplus fell from £ 24.3 million to £15.9 million. Oil rig construction business Lamprell (LAM) said profit from continuing operations after income tax and exceptional items rose from $20.3 million in the first half of 2015 to $30.6 million on 30 June. Investors focused on the good news, instead of expectations that revenue for the full year will be slightly below expectations. The Mission Marketing Group (TMMG) was in positive territory following an increase in operating profit to £2.2 million and a 67% hike in the interim dividend to 0.5p. Investors raised a glass to premium drinks brands owner Distil (DIS) on news that another major supermarket has taken the micro cap's RedLeg Spiced Rum and Blackwoods Vintage Dry Gin tipples for its stores and online.
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